Argentina might have its first elected female president—and her nearest rival was also a woman—but the fairer sex is succeeding politically only on the coattails of husbands, and female-friendly policies get nowhere. In a phenomenon the Economist calls “Peronist”—president Juan Peron had two wives who were leaders—Argentina’s top women don’t stand on their own feet, but rather as proxies for their men.
When current President Cristina Fernandez won a Senate race against her husband’s rival’s wife, it was seen mainly as a vindication for him. And female politicians have made no headway on abortion or equal pay. So Fernandez is no proof of a turn from national machismo; rather, she’ll have to show skirts are as powerful as pants in the presidential palace.